Economy India News

Banks write off Rs 10L cr in last 5 financial years

Gitanjali Gems topped the list of 25 wilful defaulters followed by Era Infra Engineering, Concast Steel and Power, REI Agro Ltd and ABG Shipyard Ltd…reports Asian Lite News

A recent Parliament reply disclosed that scheduled commercial banks have written off loans worth about Rs 10 lakh crore in the last five financial years.

According to a reply by the Finance Ministry, during 2021-22, the write-off amount came down to Rs 1,57,096 crore compared to Rs 2,02,781 crore in 2020-21.

As per the written reply by Minister of State for Finance, Bhagwat K. Karad in Rajya Sabha, during 2019-20, the write-off was worth Rs 2,34,170 crore, down from Rs 2,36,265 crore, the highest in five years recorded in 2018-19. During 2017-18, the write-off by banks stood at Rs 1,61,328 crore.

In all, bank loans to the tune of Rs 9,91,640 crore have been written off in the last five years — 2017-18 to 2021-22.

He also said that “scheduled commercial banks (SCBs) and all Indian financial institutions report certain credit information of all borrowers having aggregate credit exposure of Rs 5 crore and above to RBI under its Central Repository of Information on Large Credits database.

As per the data, the highest number of 2,840 wilful defaulters reported during 2020-21 was followed by 2,700 in 2021-22. The number of wilful defaulters stood at 2,207 at the end of March 2019 that rose to 2,469 in 2019-20.

Gitanjali Gems topped the list of 25 wilful defaulters followed by Era Infra Engineering, Concast Steel and Power, REI Agro Ltd and ABG Shipyard Ltd.

Similarly, Mehul Choksi’s company Gitanjali Gems owes banks a whopping Rs 7,110 crore while Era Infra Engineering owes Rs 5,879 crore and Concast Steel and Power Ltd Rs 4,107 crore.

Call for restructuring of loans

The Karnataka Registered Unaided Private Schools Management Association (RUPSA) has requested Union Finance Minister Niramala Sitharaman to consider restructuring of loans availed by private unaided schools in the state during Covid pandemic.

“For 2 years, private schools have been struggling to balance their financial commitments. Public statements given by politicians and Education Department officials to gain brownie points have further jeopardised our situation,” RUPSA President Lokesh Talikatte said in the letter sent to the Union Finance Ministry.

“The aftermath of this is that private schools are not able to receive fees dues from the parents. Thus we are not able to repay our loan installments and service interest on loans. Our dues are piling up and we are in debt trap,” he added.

Nirmala Sitharaman

Adding insult to injury, expenses like increased electric bills, building tax, and fire safety expenses have further aggravated the situation, he said.

“In the past two and half years, around two and a half thousand schools have either closed or are at the verge of closing. If the situation continues, many more private schools will close and thousands of employees depending on these schools will be jobless,” Talikatte warned.

“Therefore, in this critical situation, we need your (Sitharaman) intervention. Please order for restructuring of loans availed by private schools from nationalised banks, scheduled banks, NBFCs, co-operative banks etc. We need a moratorium of one year at least. Your favorable decision in this regard will be immensely helpful in uplifting the education system. We request you to consider our request at the earliest,” he said.

Talikatte said that the pandemic has shattered the economic situation of many sectors in the world, and the worst affected is the education sector because the children have not only lost their two and half years learning but also have gone under depression. This is very difficult to deal with and compensate for, he noted.

He contended that private unaided schools are shouldering the responsibilities of the state government in improving the education system. “Madam, our contribution is, though not more but definitely equivalent to government efforts,” he said.

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-Top News Bangladesh Economy

Bangla Economy On Fast Track

The Sri Lanka crisis won’t replicate in Bangladesh because the country is armed with a forex reserve of over $40 billion. To protect the poor, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has promulgated several schemes to provide food for the poor and pensions for the old and widows. To spread the light of education, textbooks and study materials are distributed free of cost to primary to secondary school students on the first day of the academic year. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman freed the Bengali nation from the shackles of subjugation. Bangabandhu’s Sonar Bangla dream will be fulfilled by Sheikh Hasina … writes Matiar Chowdhury

Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman freed the Bengali nation from the shackles of subjugation. His daughter Sheikh Hasina is working tirelessly to build Bangabandhu’s dream of Sonar Bangla. Bangabandhu spent most of his life in prison for the sake of the country and the nation, he wanted an independent sovereign non-communal Bangladesh. So in 1971, the people of the country responded to his call and jumped into the liberation war. Nine months of bloody war, the sacrifice of three million martyrs and the freedom gained.

Bangabandhu dreamed of a prosperous Golden Bengal. When he was freed from Pakistani prison and took charge of running the country, the coffers of the country were empty. Pakistanis drain the country till its last drop. During 1972-1975, Sheikh Mujib took the country forward a long way. But the forces of evil have another agenda to derail the country’s progress. On August 15, 1975, the father of the nation was killed along with his family. The progress of the country was stopped.

Anti-independence activists want to take the country back to Pakistani ideology. National slogans were changed, and communal groups emerged. It has been a long 21 years of trying to bring the country back to the Pakistani way of thinking. The Ziaur Rahman Indemnity Ordinance stopped the trial of Bangabandhu’s murder in Jarikere, and the national flag of the country was handed over to the anti-independence Rajakars by repatriation. Bangabandhu’s murderers were rewarded with jobs in various embassies. Prosecution of war criminals was stopped.

In 1975, Sheikh Hasina survived because she was out of the country. God has kept Sheikh Hasina alive to fulfil the dream of the father of the nation. When she returned to the country, there was hope in the minds of the common people. Attempts have been made to kill her 99 times since she returned to the country. She miraculously survived each time. In 2004, during the then Jamaat-BNP four-party coalition government, a grenade attack was carried out on her with the government’s direct support.

Militants appeared in the country with the help of the government during the four-party coalition government. Afghan returnee militants formed numerous terror organisations in the country, such as Ansarullah Bangla Team, and JMB.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, with her son Sajeeb Wazed and daughter Saima Wazed, taking selfie at the recently built Padma Bridge. (Photo Awami League)

Since 2008, after Sheikh Hasina assumed power, the face of the country has changed. First, she took the initiative of de-militancy, her policy of zero tolerance to suppress militancy. The development of the country started happening. The country’s GDP continues to grow. While developing countries are struggling, Bangladesh’s GDP is 6.7%. Its diplomatic relations with every country in the world are strengthened. When she overcame all obstacles and took up development projects and mega projects one after the other, the opposition continued to spread negative stories.

Currently, the foreign exchange reserves are more than $40 billion. The government has launched several welfare schemes. There are special schemes to provide food for the poor; pensions for widows and old age people. To spread the light of education, books are distributed free of cost from primary to secondary school on the first day of the year. So that no one remains homeless and sheltered, paved houses with land are introduced across the country. This year two lakh families were given houses in the country. Women are enjoying equal rights in every sector under this special project of empowering women. The country continues to develop even during Covid-19.

Sheikh Hasina has ensured the freedom of the press. She guaranteed 100% electricity in the country. When Pakistan and Sri Lanka withered under the pressure of global economic conditions, Bangladesh ensure normalcy at gas stations. The foreign trade broke records.

Pic credits @MoPEMR

Bangladesh’s exports increased by more than 34% to $52.08 billion in the fiscal year 2021–2022 (July 2021-June 2022). The Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), which is part of the Ministry of Commerce, revealed that Bangladesh had the greatest export earnings for the fiscal year 2021–2022, with strong income growth in the last months. “In the 2021-22 fiscal year, exports reached $52,082.66 million, setting a new record,” said the EPB.

 The nation’s entire export earnings in the previous fiscal year exceeded the objective of $43.50 billion with June’s export earnings of $4.91 billion, an increase of 37.19% over the same month a year prior. In the fiscal year 2020–21 (July 2020–June 2021), Bangladesh’s export revenue was estimated at $38.76 billion. As usual, the demand for ready-made clothing was mostly responsible for the growth in the 2021–22 fiscal year.

When the country is witnessing Sheikh Hasina overcoming all the obstacles and launching new development programs after another, some anti-national elements are engaged in misinformation. Bangladeshis are mature enough to ignore these negative campaigns against one of the most powerful politicians in the subcontinent. Bangladesh is back on track to becoming an Asian giant and nothing can stop that progress.

ALSO READ: The Golden Era of Bangladesh

-Top News Economy UK News

Britain will have slowest growth in G-7, says IMF

The IMF has cut its 2022 global growth forecast to just 3.2% and warned the slowdown risks being even more severe…reports Asian Lite News

The country is set for the slowest growth of the G7 richest economies next year, the International Monetary Fund has warned.

It is predicting UK growth will fall to just 0.5% in 2023, much lower than its forecast in April of 1.2%.

The global economy has shrunk for the first time since 2020, the IMF said, hit by the Ukraine war and Covid-19.

With growth stalling in the UK, US, China and Europe, the world “may soon be teetering on the edge of a global recession”, it said.

“We know that people are feeling the impact of rising prices, caused by global economic factors, triggered by the illegal Russian invasion of Ukraine,” a HM Treasury spokesperson said in a statement, adding that help for households included £400 off energy bills plus personal tax cuts worth up to £330 a year.

The IMF has cut its 2022 global growth forecast to just 3.2% and warned the slowdown risks being even more severe.

It said fast-rising prices were to blame for much of the slowdown, with households and businesses squeezed by a combination of higher prices and higher borrowing costs as policymakers raise interest rates to try to counter inflation.

“The global economy, still reeling from the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, is facing an increasingly gloomy and uncertain outlook,” economist Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas wrote in a blog outlining the international lending body’s latest economic forecast.

“The outlook has darkened significantly” since April, the last time the IMF issued forecasts, he added.

The global economy contracted in the three months to July, which was the first decline since the pandemic hit, the IMF said.

The probability of a recession in the G7 economies – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the US and UK – now stands at roughly 15% – nearly four times higher than usual.

While UK growth is expected to remain relatively strong this year, Gourinchas said unusually high inflation – faster than in Europe or the US – is expected to take a toll in 2023.

The IMF now expects inflation to reach 6.6% in advanced economies and 9.5% in emerging market and developing economies – nearly a full percentage point higher than it expected in April.

“Inflation at current levels represents a clear risk for current and future macroeconomic stability and bringing it back to central bank targets should be the top priority for policymakers,” Gourinchas said. “Tighter monetary policy will inevitably have real economic costs, but delaying it will only exacerbate the hardship.”

ALSO READ-IMF slashes India’s 2022 growth forecast to 7.4%

-Top News Economy Sri Lanka

Colombo Supermarkets running out of food

In the crisis-ridden island nation, people have been waiting in line for days for essentials such as cooking gas, kerosene, gasoline, sugar, milk powder, and medicines, reports Asian Lite News

With the political and economic crisis in Sri Lanka continuing to worsen, supermarkets in the capital city of Colombo are rapidly running out of food and other essential commodities.

In the crisis-ridden island nation, people have been waiting in line for days for essentials such as cooking gas, kerosene, gasoline, sugar, milk powder, and medicines. According to UN agencies, 5.7 million Sri Lankans, including about 2.3 million children, now require immediate humanitarian assistance.

Many shelves in supermarkets in Colombo are half empty, according to China Central Television (CCT). Numerous daily essentials, especially eggs and bread, are in short supply as food and transportation costs have risen rapidly.

“The food prices are very high. In the early days of this year, it means 2022, like in January, February and March. After that, the price increases are very high, and the normal food prices got high. And after May, the food prices went up. With the fuel prices, food prices increased. Then transportation prices came to very high,” said Nuwan a local resident as quoted by CCT.

Adding to the food shortage is a serious shortage of fuel, which has dealt a particularly heavy blow to the transportation industry.

“I did not do any business with my vehicle. Because zero fuel token. The last two months, mean 60 days, the only oil we can get (is) 10 to 12 litres. Ten to 12 litres only covers my personal use only. Then how can I do my business, It’s completely zero,” said Jeevana Aarajji, a Tuk Tuk driver.

After days of uncertainty, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Thursday sent a resignation letter after flying to Singapore. He had first fled to the Maldives on Wednesday to escape a popular uprising over his role in the economic mess of the island nation.

As things stand, Ranil Wickremesinghe is the acting President now. On Friday, Sri Lanka’s ruling party said they would nominate interim President Ranil Wickremesinghe to the presidency when the parliament elects a new president on July 20.

General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Sagara Kariyawasam said that the SLPP would nominate Wickremesinghe and support him in the vote. (ANI)

ALSO READ: Ranil Wickremesinghe becomes Lanka’s acting President

Asia News Economy World News

SPECIAL: Farm Sector Get A Fillip in Kashmir

Agriculture reformations have helped J&K UT to score in the top 5 states/UT in terms of monthly farming revenue. Due to market-trends-oriented farming, horticulture is now a sustainable economic activity. A special report on agriculture entrepreneurs in J&K

An impetus for the entrepreneurship culture in J&K is redirecting the collective energy toward creating marvelous works of art. One such form of art is Scientific Farming. People have started taking pride in belonging to the fertile UT of J&K. They are focusing on learning skills and self-employment – the vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat envisaged by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Recently Jammu and Kashmir’s Bhaderwah region made news by growing exotic Italian pears with an annual production of 1.5 metric tons. Horticulture is getting popular with farmers owing to the government’s monetary schemes and free skill development training.

Once upon a time, the villages of Bharova, Khalo, and Shanatra in Bhaderwah were poverty-stricken. Haji Mohd Shafi Sheikh,resident of a small village Bharova (18 km from Bhaderwah town), pioneered the horticulture movement when he switched to growing fruits and medicinal plants two decades back. His maize and green fodder fields were completely dependent upon rain and never yielded beyond Rs 20,000 a year. Now his Italian pears earn him a whopping Rs 25 lakhs annually.

A team of Krishi Vigyan Kendra assistance has helped 165 families from these villages to convert their lands into orchards scientifically, turning this region into an exotic fruit hub. The Red D’Anjou pears (Italian pears) have also attracted tourists, fulfilling an objective of J&K’s horticulture tourism.

On June 29 at Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Center Srinagar a Kisan Maha Sammelan was held to recognize innovative, technologically advanced farmers for their contributions to agriculture and horticulture. Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha advised the youth to take up agriculture as a career as Jammu and Kashmir is gifted with nature’s bounty and the government has introduced several policies and schemes to increase farmers’ income.

The honored farmers received sanction letters and National Saffron Mission cash support. The LG also released the book “Zero Budget Natural Farming” at the event. Agri-preneurs at the event discussed with representatives from agricultural institutes the optimum methods of growing high-density food crops. Female agriculture entrepreneurs were promised all support from the UT government. Vocational training in agriculture is helping women to become self-sufficient. Today many women are choosing to grow mushrooms, lavender, and baby corn among other crops due to their high demand in mainland India.

Agriculture reformations have helped J&K UT to score in the top 5 states/UT in terms of monthly farming revenue. Due to market-trends-oriented farming, horticulture is now a sustainable economic activity.

Farmer welfare schemes sponsored by the Prime Minister such as Kissan Sammaan Nidhi, Kissan Credit Card, Kissan Fasal Bima Yojna, Soil Health Card, Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY), National Agriculture Market (e-NAM), SVAMITVA Yojana, etc. have helped to double the farmer’s income.

In March this year, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agriculture Sciences and Technology (SKUAST) Srinagar, held its annual 7th Technology-cum-Seed Mela, with the theme ‘Organic and Natural Farming’. The culture of organic farming is spreading like wildfire in J&K. It relies on compost manure, green manure, and bone meal; and techniques such as crop rotation, companion planting, mixed cropping, and fostering the multiplication of insect predators. The use of naturally occurring substances over synthetic has helped in maintaining soil health in the region.

This unique event brought together the farming community including private players, NGOs, public representatives, policymakers, student technocrats, and all others involved indirectly in agriculture and allied sectors to establish new business opportunities.

Thousands of people from the length and breadth of the J&K UT and Ladakh UT attended this mega event. Orchardists, mushroom growers, vegetable growers, floriculturists, livestock rearers, poultry farmers, aqua-culturists, sericulturists, input dealers, farm machinery representatives, agriculture students, and researchers – all went home happily with at least one business prospect.

Agriculture mela and exhibitions across the UT are witnessing a heavy footfall of people. The increase in revenue is a motivating factor for self-help groups, especially for women. The melas display the latest agriculture equipment and literature about the best farming techniques for higher yield and higher profit per unit area.

Malpractices in agriculture are now under strict vigilance. The Department of Agriculture has banned the use and availability of sub-standard and spurious pesticides and insecticides. The law enforcement wing of the administration has made it mandatory for all manufacturers/distributors to get prior testing of their products at source and declare the same to the department. During the current year, 1200 quintals of sub-standard products have been seized by the department.

Today J&K is an international brand name in the category of fruits and medicinal plants. Right now, a person sitting in Dubai is enjoying Kashmiri cherries and apricots, while another in Germany is using Kashmiri lavender for aromatherapy. The improved livelihood standards of farmers in J&K today are the direct result of the Center’s efforts through schemes and programs to empower the farmers’ status to that of Agriculture Entrepreneurs.

Business Economy

Layoffs finally hit giants

Cloud major Oracle recently considered laying off thousands of workers to save up to $1 billion in cost-cutting measures…reports Asian Lite News

The economic meltdown has reached Big Tech and Satya Nadella-run Microsoft has become the first tech giant to lay off employees as part of a ‘realignment’.

The layoffs at Microsoft reportedly affect nearly 1 per cent of its 1,80,000-strong workforce across its offices and product divisions.

“Today we had a small number of role eliminations. Like all companies, we evaluate our business priorities on a regular basis, and make structural adjustments accordingly,” Microsoft told Bloomberg in a statement late on Tuesday.

“We will continue to invest in our business and grow headcount overall in the year ahead,” the company added.

Microsoft has also slowed hiring in the Windows, Teams and Office groups.

Microsoft reported strong earnings in its third quarter, with a 26 per cent jump (on-year) in cloud revenue and overall revenue of $49.4 billion.

However, last month, the company revised its Q4 revenue and earnings guidance downward.

Twitter has also cut 30 per cent of its recruiting team while Elon Musk-run Tesla has been laying off hundreds of employees.

A Twitter spokesperson confirmed these layoffs to TechCrunch, without divulging further details or the number of employees affected.

The sacked employees will receive severance packages and the company will “reprioritise’ remaining recruitment staff.

Twitter had earlier announced to halt most hiring across divisions.

As Twitter paused hiring, the micro-blogging platform last month shifted employees away from audio Spaces, Communities and newsletters verticals for areas that “will have the greatest positive impact to the public conversation”.

Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal in May fired consumer product leader Kayvon Beykpour and head of revenue product Bruce Falck, saying there is a hiring freeze now and Twitter will also pause spending in most areas.

Agrawal had said that the company will also be reviewing all extended offers to determine criticality and those that should be pulled back.

“We are not planning company-wide layoffs, but leaders will continue making changes to their organizations to improve efficiencies as needed,” Agrawal had said in a memo to employees.

Twitter has paused most hiring and backfills, except for business critical roles as determined by ‘Staff’ members.

Other tech companies that have slowed hiring include Nvidia, Snap, Uber, Spotify, Intel and Salesforce, among others.

Cloud major Oracle recently considered laying off thousands of workers to save up to $1 billion in cost-cutting measures, the media reported.

Meanwhile, Elon Musk-run Tesla has laid off 229 annotation employees from its Autopilot team and closed one of its offices in the US.

According to a regulatory filing in California state in the US and seen by TechCrunch, Tesla had laid off workers from its San Mateo office that employed 276 workers.

The remaining 47 employees may be sent to work in Tesla’s Buffalo Autopilot office, according to the report.

“Most of the workers were in moderately low-skilled, low-wage jobs, such as Autopilot data labeling, which involves determining if Tesla’s algorithm identified an object well or poorly,” the report added.

The layoffs are part of the 10 per cent reduction in salaried workforce that Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced last month.

Tesla started laying off salaried employees after Musk’s announcement, which would result in reducing Tesla’s total headcount by roughly 3.5 per cent.

Tesla employs more than 1,00,000 people across its facilities.

A team of lawyers representing former Tesla employees, who were laid off last month, have sought emergency protection from a US court for the fired workers.

In a motion filed in the US District Court for the Western District of Texas, the lawyers asked the judge “to restrict Tesla’s ability to continue seeking releases from employees in exchange for one week of severance”..

As recession fears grow, the US-based autonomous vehicle technology startup Agro AI, backed by Ford and Volkswagen, has laid off about 150 people and slowed the pace of hiring, making it the latest tech auto company to reduce its workforce.

According to TechCrunch, the layoffs account for about 5 per cent of its more than 2,000 global workforces, according to sources familiar with the company’s actions.

The layoffs were widespread, affecting talent recruiters, digital media and communications employees as well as members of its operations teams, a review of LinkedIn profiles shows, the report said.

“With incredible growth and progress made in our mission to deploy driverless vehicles, we are making prudent adjustments to our business plan to best continue on a path for success,” the startup said in an email statement while confirming layoffs.

A close source, who remained anonymous because they are not authorised to speak on behalf of the company, told TechCrunch that Argo AI had hired too quickly, overshooting where it should be.

The company is still hiring and has dozens of engineering, legal, technical programme management and fleet operations positions open, the report said.

Argo AI, which is based in Pittsburgh, launched driverless testing operations in May 2022 in Miami and Austin, marking the company’s progress towards commercialising its technology.

ALSO READ: Unacademy tightens its belt

-Top News Economy Europe

Euro falls to parity with USD, hitting 20-year low

The euro continued to fall from Tuesday morning and traded at par with the U.S. dollar in a short-term in intraday trading…reports Asian Lite News

For the first time in two decades, the euro on Tuesday falls to parity with the U.S. dollar, meaning one U.S. dollar is equal in value to one euro.

The single currency of 19 European Union countries has not fallen to or below a one-to-one exchange rate with the U.S. dollar since December 2002.

The euro continued to fall from Tuesday morning and traded at par with the U.S. dollar in a short-term in intraday trading.

After reaching parity, the euro exchange rate picked up again slightly. As of 4:20 p.m. local time (1420 GMT), euro was trading for 1.005 dollars in the currency market.

The euro will continue to fall even after falling below par with the dollar, said Ebrahim Rahbari, global head of foreign exchange analysis at Citigroup.

Euro has slumped 10 percent against U.S. dollar since the start of the year, according to data from European Central Bank (ECB).

ALSO READ-UK govt issues extreme heat warning as temperatures soar

Business Economy India News

RBI sets up rupee settlement system for int’l trade

The central bank said the measure is taken to promote growth of global trade with emphasis on exports from India…reports Asian Lite News

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Monday announced an additional framework for invoicing, payment, and settlement of exports/imports in Indian rupees.

According to the RBI, the authorised dealer banks should get the prior approval from its Foreign Exchange Department.

The central bank said the measure is taken to promote growth of global trade with emphasis on exports from India and to support the increasing interest of the global trading community in the Indian rupee.

The RBI said the broad framework for cross border trade transactions in Indian rupee under Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA) include that all exports and imports under this arrangement may be denominated and invoiced in Indian rupee, the exchange rate between the currencies of the two trading partner countries may be market determined, and the settlement of trade transactions under this arrangement shall take place in Indian rupee.

The RBI said in terms of Regulation 7(1) of Foreign Exchange Management (Deposit) Regulations, 2016, authorised dealer banks in India have been permitted to open Rupee Vostro accounts.

Accordingly, for settlement of trade transactions with any country, the authorised dealer banks in India may open Special Rupee Vostro Accounts of correspondent bank/s of the partner trading country.

In order to allow settlement of international trade transactions through this arrangement, the RBI said that Indian importers undertaking imports through this mechanism shall make payment in rupee which shall be credited into the Special Vostro account of the correspondent bank of the partner country, against the invoices for the supply of goods or services from the overseas seller /supplier.

Indian exporters, undertaking exports of goods and services through this mechanism, shall be paid the export proceeds in rupee from the balances in the designated Special Vostro account of the correspondent bank of the partner country.

The RBI has also listed out the framework in case of advance against exports, setting of export receivables against import payables, bank guarantee, use of surplus balance in the Special Vostro Accounts and others.

ALSO READ: Internationalise Indian Rupee, SBI tells RBI

-Top News Economy Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan PM Wickremesinghe resigns

Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena will take over as President until all-party govt is formed, reports Asian Lite News

Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has announced that he will resign from his post in order to ensure the continuation of the government and the safety of all the citizens.

Taking to Twitter, Wickremesinghe said, “To ensure the continuation of the Government including the safety of all citizens I accept the best recommendation of the Party Leaders today, to make way for an All-Party Government. To facilitate this I will resign as Prime Minister.”

Earlier, Sri Lankan Prime Minister said in a statement that he took this decision in view of the fact that island-wide fuel distribution is due to recommence this week, the World Food Program Director is due to visit the country this week and the Debt Sustainability report for the IMF is due to be finalised shortly.”

“So as to ensure the safety of the citizens, he is agreeable to this recommendation by the Opposition Party Leaders,” the statement reads.

Meanwhile, Sri Lankan MP Harsha de Silva said that the majority of party leaders had agreed on President and Prime Minister’s resignation and the Speaker to act as President for a maximum of 30 days. He further said that the leaders also agreed on the election of MP as President for the remaining term will be elected by the parliament.

“All party interim government to be appointed in the next few days,” he added.

Earlier, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe summoned an emergency Party Leaders meeting to discuss the situation and come to a swift resolution.

The Prime Minister is also requesting the Speaker to summon Parliament.

Lankan local publication Daily Mirror reported that several gunshots were heard being fired in the air and police unsuccessfully used tear gas to ward off protestors who surrounded the presidential residence. Two people have reportedly been injured.

Protestors have entered the President’s House, tweeted the Daily Mirror.

Sri Lanka’s police imposed a curfew in several police divisions in Western Province with effect from 9 pm local time Friday until further notice ahead of a planned protest today demanding the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Strict action will be taken on those violating the curfew, the police said. The Sri Lankan publication said travelling through the areas where police curfew is in effect is completely prohibited and police had advised people to use other alternative routes.

The worsening economic situation in the country has led to increasing tensions and over the last few weeks, there were reports of several confrontations between individuals and members of the police force and the armed forces at fuel stations where thousands of desperate members of the public have queued for hours and sometimes days. Police have used tear gas and water cannon at times in an unnecessary and disproportionate manner. On occasions, armed forces have also fired live ammunition.

Former captain Sanath Jayasuriya on Saturday joined thousands of protesters in Sri Lanka’s commercial capital and demanded the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa amid the worst economic crisis in the island nation.

Sri Lanka is suffering its worst economic crisis since gaining independence in 1948, which comes on the heels of successive waves of COVID-19, threatening to undo years of development progress and severely undermining the country’s ability to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The oil supply shortage has forced schools and government offices to close until further notice. Reduced domestic agricultural production, a lack of foreign exchange reserves, and local currency depreciation have fuelled the shortages. The economic crisis will push families into hunger and poverty – some for the first time – adding to the half a million people who the World Bank estimates have fallen below the poverty line because of the pandemic. (ANI)

ALSO READ: Protesters storm Sri Lankan President’s house

-Top News Economy USA

US will narrowly avoid recession: IMF chief

IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva highlighted “significant downside risks” this year and especially in 2023, reports Asian Lite News

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said that there is “a narrowing path” to avoiding a US recession, highlighting “significant downside risks” this year and especially in 2023.

“Based on the policy path outlined at the June FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) meeting, and an expected reduction in the fiscal deficit, we expected the US economy will slow,” Georgieva said at a virtual press conference on the annual Article IV consultation to review the American economy.

With inflation well above the Federal Reserve’s longer-run goal and an extremely tight labour market, the Fed raised the target range for the federal funds rate at each of the past three meetings.

Last week, the central bank raised rates by 75 basis points, marking the sharpest rate hike since 1994.

Georgieva said the IMF believes the path for the policy rate that the Fed has signaled, to quickly get the federal funds rate to 3.5 to 4 per cent, is the correct policy to bring down inflation, but there may be “some pain” for consumers.

U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell (Xinhua_Liu Jie_IANS)

She also said that the IMF is mindful of the risks to the US economy. “We are actually seeing very significant downside risks this year and especially next year,” she said.

The IMF chief’s remarks came after Fed Chair Jerome Powell said earlier this week that the bank’s aggressive rate hikes could tip the US economy into recession.

“It’s not our intended outcome at all, but it’s certainly a possibility,” Powell told lawmakers at a Congressional hearing.

ALSO READ: US Supreme Court ends constitutional right to abortion